Shark Swarm (2008)

RHI Entertainment/ SyFy.  Director: James A. Contner.

Creature Feature Bleachers Award: Most Blondes.

At 167 minutes, “Shark Swarm” is truly a monster of a sharksploitation film.  If not for the 173-minute “Creature,” this movie would be an anomaly.  Still, in the time it takes you to watch “Shark Swarm,” you could view “Psycho Shark” almost two and a half times!  (I’m pretty sure that means you would see the same footage about 10 times over).  But PLEASE don’t do that; while “Psycho Shark” is wretched, “Shark Swarm” is actually pretty decent.  It doesn’t drag on as badly as you might expect, and finds a fair balance between action, comedy, romance (blech), and science fiction.  If you’ve got almost three hours to kill, give it a shot.

Entrepreneur Hamilton Lux (Armand Assante) plans to turn the fishing village of Full Moon Bay into a seaside residential development.  He orders his goons to pollute the water, thus devastating the sea life and causing local fisherman to sell their property.  A single obstacle stands between Lux and success: stubborn mule Daniel Wilder (John Schneider).  Dan refuses to sell his family’s fishery and leads a Quixotic effort to oppose Lux’s plans.  Meanwhile, Lux’s sludge has altered the behavior of area sharks, increasing their aggression and causing them to gather in swarms.  Can Dan and his professor brother Phil (Roark Critchlow) stop the sharks and save the town, or will Lux succeed in his evil scheme?

The DVD Cover

I’ve come to the realization that John Schneider can really only play one role.  In every film, he is the stubborn, down-to-earth, quick-tempered yeoman fill in the blank.  I mean, on “Smallville” he played a family farmer.  In “Shark Swarm,” he plays a family fisherman.  To make matters worse, he is always fighting against a villain named Lex or Lux or Ex-Lax or something.  Still, Schneider plays that one role pretty well, and in “Shark Swarm” he even offers some surprisingly hilarious dialogue.  In one scene, he and his lackey Clint (Brent King) pull up a load of fish, only to discover that they’re all diseased and smelly inside.  As Schneider cuts one open, Clint recoils in disgust, claiming that “Even [local pub owner] Brenda wouldn’t serve that.”  Obviously dismayed by the sight before him, Schneider doesn’t alter his delivery one bit as he replies, “Apparently you don’t know Brenda that well.”  A corny and predictable line, yet the delivery is pure gold.

Unfortunately, he also takes his shirt off.

Unfortunately, Schneider also takes his shirt off.

“Hey wait,” you may be saying, “you said John Schneider can only play one role.  But he also played the bad guy in ‘Super Shark.'”  Okay, fine, you have a point.  What I should have said is, John Schneider can only play one role convincingly.  He was pretty darn awful as the evil businessman in “Super Shark.”  Speaking of which, you may recognize another familiar face (well, haircut, actually) that appears in both movies: Shane Van Dyke.  This time around, the little scoundrel plays Schneider’s daughter’s boyfriend.

Because they obviously don't have enough blondes in the family already.

Because they obviously don’t have enough blondes in the family already.

One of the main subplots in “Shark Swarm” leaves me with mixed feelings.  Let me take you through it.  As all the other kids prepare to go home after a day of swimming, young Heather (Darcy Rose Byrnes) still hasn’t set one foot in the water.  Camp counselor Alice (Nicole Gabriella Scipione) tries to convince her not to be afraid, promising her that “it won’t kill you.”  Once Heather overcomes her fear and ventures into the water, Alice quickly gets eaten by a shark before Heather’s very eyes.  Her mom soon comes to pick her up, but won’t listen to the poor traumatized girl.

"Hush, Mommy's on the phone now."

“Hush, Mommy’s on the phone now.”

Later, Heather’s parents throw a beach party for her.  When she won’t get in the water, they force her to swim with a lifeguard, saying, “Honey, we’re not going to put you where it’s not safe.”  Just as Heather finally starts to enjoy herself, the lifeguard gets eaten right in front of her.  She drifts back to shore, and finds that her parents—who, again, didn’t see anything— still won’t believe her.

Near the end of the film, Heather’s parents try to convince her to participate in a mass baptism in the sea.  She stoutly refuses, but her parents wade in to join the rest of the group.  Naturally, the baptism becomes a massive shark attack, and Heather’s parents are some of the last people to make it back to shore safely.  When the family is finally reunited, Heather admonishes them, “I told you so!”

From this description, the Heather sub-plot probably seems like standard sharksploitation filler: a little girl legitimately fears the water, but through a series of wacky coincidences, the adults around her won’t take her seriously.  The only catch is, “Shark Swarm” doesn’t really treat this in a comical manner.  While such a storyline could and normally would be funny, this subplot actually just brings you into the world of a frightened little girl who feels absolutely powerless to control the danger around her.  I mean, look at her face and tell me this is supposed to be funny.

swarm-heather

I’m honestly not sure what the filmmakers were trying to achieve.

Not to end on a sad note, I’d like to say that I enjoyed Armand Assante’s performance as the villain.  Lux doesn’t berate his henchmen or make open threats while sneering cruelly.  He’s kind of a laid back villain who doesn’t consider himself evil, but just wants to do what he wants to do.  Building this development is just a job for him.  Yet, the best thing about him is his incomprehensible delivery.  He mumbles his lines like a combination of Rodney Dangerfield, Christopher Walken, and a bad Elvis impersonator.

The trailer:

“Shark Swarm” is available on Amazon.

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Jersey Shore Shark Attack (2012)

ARO Entertainment/SyFy.  Director: John Shepphird.

Creature Feature Bleachers Award: Most Annoying Characters.

You probably saw an ad for this movie and assumed it would be a source of highly cathartic and bloody glee.  I hate to crush your hopes, but “Jersey Shore Shark Attack” does not star the actual cast of “Jersey Shore,” nor does it offer the chance to see any of their stand-ins being eaten by sharks.  I’m sure that many of you must feel disappointed to hear this, but even a complete “Jersey Shore” novice like me shares in your pain.  Though I’ve never seen the show, five minutes of this film was enough to convince me that I want all of them to be eaten by sharks, and quickly.  I mean, long-time aficionados of The Creature Feature Bleachers know that sharksploitation films rarely have lovable characters, but this is ridiculous!  How often do you start rooting for the sharks before the film even begins?

In the town of Seaside Heights, New Jersey, tensions flair between the “guidos” and the country club set.  The rich people want to change the area into a nice leisure area, but the guidos were there first and want to keep things as they are.  Alas, internal discord rends the guido camp asunder, as Nooki (Melissa Molinaro) leaves TC (“The Complication,” Jeremy Luke) after finding him with another woman.  Things take a turn for the worse when some preppy kids chase a guido into the water and sharks eat him.  The gang has to get it together in order to rid Seaside Heights of the sharky threat.  But could Mr. Dolan’s (William Atherton) plan to gentrify the beach be drawing the very sharks that are terrorizing it?

The DVD Cover

In all fairness to this film, I don’t know very much about “Jersey Shore,” nor do I care to.  I probably missed out on a lot of parody humor that would have regular “Shore” fans slapping their thighs and guffawing till tears streamed down their cheeks.  As an example of my ignorance, I could not for the life of me figure out why they got such a horrible actor to play the news reporter.  This guy says his lines with as much realism as Andy Kaufman sings “It’s a Small World.”  Turns out, they got an actual “Jersey Shore” cast member, Vinny Guadagnino, to play the role.  How was I to know?

Wait, they DON'T call her Nooki on the actual show?

Wait, they DON’T call her Nooki on the actual show?

Although killer albino sharks are ostensibly the threat in this film, the plot really centers around a perceived conflict between Italian-Americans and gentrification.  In the movie, rich people plan to buy up the shore, build some nice buildings, and turn the area into a great vacation spot, while the guidos want to hold onto the little town that their ancestors built.  For me, this supposed conflict is a non-starter.  Both sides are insufferable jerks throughout the film, so I don’t really give a shark’s tooth about who ultimately wins.  If anything, the preppy kids are better dressed and have wittier insults.  I think the movie was trying to make some sort of a point about community or something, but the message that comes across is, “lower-class superficiality is better than upper-class superficiality.”

I mean

Obviously.

“Jersey Shore Shark Attack” also presents an apparent reversal of the “traditional” Italian-American integration model.  The kids are far more Italian (or at least more “guido”) than the adults.  Their accents are thicker and they identify more strongly with their Italian roots than their parents do.  Furthermore, the adults actually play important roles within the community: TC’s dad (Jack Scalia) serves as sheriff, and Captain Salie (Tony Sirico) operates the most popular seaside bar in town.  As far as I can tell, the kids don’t contribute anything to anything (which is, I suppose, typical of kids).  Still, it’s strange to see a depiction of the younger generation being less integrated into wider society than the generation that preceded them.

Hairy arms.

Thankfully, the kids also have less-hairy arms.

Perhaps the single greatest part of “Jersey Shore Shark Attack” is the cameo by former ‘N Sync member Joey Fatone.  Fatone knows he is the biggest celebrity they could get for the least money, and that’s fine by him.  In his 75 seconds of screen time, he delivers a more enjoyable performance than all of the other characters throughout the rest of the film.  It’s true that I tend to favor self-deprecatory humor, but Fatone nails it.

jerseyshore-fatone

You DON’T want my autograph? Why not?

“Jersey Shore Shark Attack” contains one of the worst massacres I’ve ever seen in a sharksploitation film.  In the climax, the guidos mercilessly discharge their firearms into a school of sharks.  This is meant to validate their machismo, but when you stop to consider the facts, it’s kind of sad.  First and foremost, the guidos know that a massive drill is drawing the sharks, and that shutting off the drill will send the sharks back to the ocean floor.  Second, these are essentially normal sharks, not savagely aggressive mutants like we sometimes see in this kind of movie.  Thus, allowing the sharks to return to nature would pose no special threat to humankind.  Third, 100 million sharks were killed by humans in 2012, while only 11 humans were killed by sharks.  Surprising and extremely unbalanced.  Fourth, I would much rather spend 90 minutes watching the sharks than the humans.

jerseyshore-fatguy

Case in point.

The trailer captures the high caliber of the film:

“Jersey Shore Shark Attack” is available on Amazon.

Dinoshark (2010)

Anchor Bay Entertainment.  Director: Kevin O’Neill.

Creature Feature Bleachers Award: Most Unoriginal.

Though “Dinoshark” and “Sharktopus” premiered within a few months of each other in 2010, the difference between their enjoyability is remarkable.  While “Sharktopus” ranks as one of my top sharksploitation picks, “Dinoshark” languishes somewhere near the bottom of the list.  Despite the film’s title, there’s nothing particularly unique about this shark, nor do the human characters make for very interesting viewing.  Without a hero or anti-hero to root for, I found myself cheering for the clock.  (The fact that this film is exactly 90 minutes long should tell you something).  “Dinoshark” received a lot of favorable press as a bad B-movie when it came out, but anyone rash enough to place “Dinoshark” in the “so bad it’s good” category should take a long moment to peruse the other twenty-some films reviewed on this site.  This is neither the best nor the worst shark film out there.

Freed from a chunk of Alaskan ice, an ancient dinoshark slowly makes its way down to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  Boat pilot Trace (Eric Balfour) and swim coach Carol (Croatian actress Iva Hasperger) begin to suspect the shark’s presence when their mutual friend Rita (Christina Nicole) goes missing.  Evidence of the shark mounts when the pair notice the disappearance of friend Steve (Richard Miller) and his latest romantic conquest Lois (Liv Boughn, who simultaneously appeared as Stacy Everheart in “Sharktopus”).  Trace and Carol seek further information about the beast from Dr. Reeves (Roger Corman, who simultaneously hammed it up in “Sharktopus”).  With the help of local law enforcement, will they be able to vanquish the threat?

The DVD Cover

Yes, schlock movie producer/director Roger Corman once again stars in one of his own films (remember his performance as the misanthropic old pervert in “Shartopus”?).  This time around, Corman plays a more vital role in the plot, advising the heroes to aim for the shark’s eye.  He is joined on screen by co-producer Robbie Roessel, who should quite simply never be allowed to act again (you’ll know him when you see him, trust me).  Though a few of the bit players are repeat performers from “Sharktopus,” I get the feeling that “Dinoshark” was the first and (hopefully) last acting experience for most of the actors.

The special

And the special effects guy, too.

General lameness aside, a few parts of “Dinoshark” are worth mentioning.  For instance, the single greatest moment of the film might just be Carol’s reaction to the information she uncovers about Dinoshark.  Having just lost her friend Rita to the beast, Carol wants to research it as much as possible in order to take it down.  Perusing Dr. Reeves’s website on a very slow laptop, she eventually comes across an artist’s rendering of what Dinosharks might have looked like 150 million years ago.  Bingo!  The picture looks just like the shark she saw earlier!  Time to take off her shirt!

Dinoshark-Carol

?

Seriously, that’s exactly how it happens.  Even better, this scene ends abruptly, and in the next scene, Carol’s wearing a different black shirt.  I guess this sequence is meant to imply that she changed shirts, but as to why identifying Dinoshark would make a person change shirts, I have no idea.

Trace’s inconsistent facial growth constitutes another ripple in the film’s otherwise “smooth” flow.  I only noticed one instance of this particular glaring incongruity, but it was enough to draw my attention.  Take a look at Trace’s beard at the movie’s 27 minute mark:

Dinoshark-Trace1Now check it at the 29 minute mark:

Dinoshark-Trace2

And then again at the 34 minute mark:

"Didn't you use to have a beard?"

“Didn’t you have a beard just a moment ago?”

The trailer is about as unoriginal as the film itself:

“Dinoshark” is available on Amazon.

Malibu Shark Attack (2009)

Syfy.  Director: David Lister.

Creature Feature Bleachers Awards: Dumbest Looking Sharks, Most Closeted Gay Men

What I’ve noticed over the course of my journey into the world of sharksploitation films is that they all have a unique feel to them.  “Malibu Shark Attack” (a.k.a. “Mega Shark in Malibu”) bucks this trend.  While I enjoyed the film, it failed to leave an impression in my head, and it was only upon further reflection that I teased out the interesting points discussed below.  Perhaps I’ve seen far too many of these films, but I found “Malibu Shark Attack” to be very middle-of-the-road: not great, not bad, and not particularly original.  With this in mind, I recommend it for sharksploitation junkies in need of a fix, but warn off innocents who have not yet been initiated.  “Malibu Shark Attack” won’t hook you on the genre, but if you need another bad shark movie to watch, this one will help you get through the week.

It’s a typical day on a typical beach in “Malibu.”  (No explanation is given for the fact that everyone on or near the beach happens to be Canadian or Australian).  Lifeguards and ex-lovers Heather (Peta Wilson) and Chavez (Warren Christie) argue about Heather’s new boyfriend Colin (Jeff Gannon) and the disruptive construction work he has been doing at a private residence on one end of the beach.  Ditzy blonde Jenny (Chelan Simmons) tries to get out of her court-mandated community service, while Bryan (Nicholas G. Cooper) asks lifeguard Barb (Sonya Salomaa) to marry him.  This unbelievably gripping tale of their fascinating lives is interrupted when a tremor simultaneously unleashes killer goblin sharks and a large tsunami.  The giant wave floods the beach, trapping the characters in the lifeguard station as the sharks move in for the kill!

The rather misleadingly titled DVD cover.

“Malibu Shark Attack” may be unremarkable on the whole, but it does have a few defining characteristics.  For example, the action takes place in an extremely limited amount of space: one section of a single beach.  When I say that, I mean it.  We get a few shots of the highway, the National Earthquake Center, and the water, but everything else happens either at the lifeguard station or on Colin’s construction site.  These two locations are clearly within eyesight of each other.  Perhaps the restricted setting is meant to give the film a feel of claustrophobia, but it just made me think that the characters existed in some sort of pocket universe separated from all other reality.

In addition, the sharks in this film are some of the goofiest that I’ve ever seen.

The bizarre thing is, goblin sharks actually look like that.  Well, somewhat less computer-generated, but they really do have scary teeth and protruding noses.  With such creepy faces, I’m surprised they don’t appear as the villains in more shark movies.  Or the heroes, depending on your point of view.

“Malibu Shark Attack” contains some interesting if underplayed sexual politics.  For instance, Bryan is pretty obviously gay, yet he proposes to Barb anyway.  Why does he do this?  Have his parents pressured him to get married?  Is he having difficulty coming to grips with his sexual orientation?  Does he even know?  The film would have been more enthralling had it tackled these issues, rather than trying to pass off Bryan and Barb as an enthusiastically engaged couple.

Heather makes for an even more sexually enigmatic character.  Chavez won’t commit to getting married and starting a family with her, so she leaves him for Colin, a curiously effeminate man.  But perhaps I’m being too quick to attach labels to people.  Having a lisp doesn’t necessarily mean a man isn’t heterosexual.

Nor does having a lisp and wearing a purple shirt.

Nor does having a lisp, wearing a purple shirt, and carrying a purse.

This would be odd enough on its own, yet Heather throws out a very strange comment at the end of film.  Colin and Chavez have been butting heads throughout the movie, and both have saved Heather’s life.  She intensifies the rivalry by openly admitting that she loves them both.  As the action winds down, the two men make veiled arguments for why she should choose one of them over the other.  To this she replies, “You guys went to preschool, kindergarten, something, right?  How are you about sharing your toys?”  The guys sort of smile, then the focus shifts to something else.  Ummm…

All things considered, “Malibu Shark Attack” is a fairly solid if uninspired sharksploitation film.  You’ll probably enjoy it if you take the time to invent elaborate background stories for the characters, since this film’s charm lies in what goes unsaid and unexplained.  And as always, if you don’t like it, don’t bite my head off!

It’s somehow fitting that the trailer doesn’t even attempt to introduce the characters:

“Malibu Shark Attack” is available on Amazon.

Swamp Shark (2011)

Syfy/Bullet Films.  Director: Griff Furst.

Creature Feature Bleachers Award: Most Sympathetic Characters

With most sharksploitation films, you quickly develop an intense feeling of resentment toward the characters.  As they prattle on in their annoying, grating voices, their foolish decisions and stupid faces eventually drive you insane.  You find yourself rooting for the sharks, even pleading with them.  “Please, kill them now, mutated/prehistoric/genetically-engineered shark!” you scream, “PLEASE!”  Not so with “Swamp Shark.”  This film actually has great characters,  including a couple of lovable underdogs, a detestable villain, and a sleazy pretty-boy.  I found myself caring about the characters, so much so that I wanted most of them to survive.  The amount of gore in the film is about average, though there is a gross throat wound (maybe I’m just extra-sensitive because I use my throat on a daily basis).  Since the film takes place in the swamp instead of on the beach, there are fewer bikinis than usual, although we get some safe-for-TV scenes of attempted sex in such romantic locations as a rowboat and the dock.  The storyline is nothing special, but overall…dare I say it?…”Swamp Shark” is almost a genuinely good movie.

The posters for “Swamp Shark” don’t draw on “Jaws” imagery, nor does the plot rely too heavily on The Mother of All Shark Films.  In the opening scene, Sheriff Watson (Robert Davi) breaks up the drunken teenage party from the beginning of “Jaws.”  We get a fresh plot point, however, when the sheriff promptly takes part in some shady animal smuggling involving a gigantic shark.  This might shock you, but the shark escapes into the swamp!  When it eats a local drunk guy and several captive gators at a gator-themed restaurant—aptly named The Gator Shed—the owners and staff decide to hunt it down.  Along the way, they receive some help from a surprise ally…

The DVD Cover

“Swamp Shark” actually has some decent romances in it.  You know from the start that the relationship between restaurant owner Rachel Bouchard (Kristy Swanson) and pretty-boy waiter Tyler (Richard Tanne) isn’t going to work out.  It might have something to do with the fact that at the time of filming, Swanson was 41 and Tanne was only 26.  (To give you some perspective, Swanson played “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” in the 1992 movie.)  Fortunately Rachel makes the jump from unfaithful Tyler to jowly, 50 year-old Tommy Breysler (D.B. Sweeney), some guy who hangs around her restaurant all day drinking coffee.

Even better is the romance between Rachel’s younger sister Krystal (Sophie Sinise) and chubby waiter Martin (Jason Rogel).  It’s rare to see emotional vulnerability in a sharksploitation film, and “Swamp Shark” handles it beautifully.  Martin is completely resigned to the fact that Krystal will never see him as anything more than a friend, while Krystal’s desire for peer acceptance leads her to sneak out and join a couple of drunken jerks on their party boat.  Surprisingly, the film refuses to treat even the drunken party boys one-dimensionally.  One of them is a remorseless loser, but when things get out of hand, the other acts the way any decent, normal person might.  Every once in a while it’s nice to watch a character act fairly and altruistically in a way that doesn’t feel forced.

But of course, as a shark movie, there must be some inconsistencies.  Despite the danger posed by the shark, Sheriff Watson refuses to cancel Gator Fest, “the one thing that still brings money to this town.”  Okay, a plot point stolen from “Jaws,” but still relatively plausible in the context of the recent oil spill and economic recession.  Until you see the fest, that is.

Uhhh

Is anyone else wondering how three visitors are supposed to save the economy of the town?  Three?!?  They must be charging like a million dollars apiece for a game of bean bag toss!  Gator Fest is even more of a disaster than the Sandman Festival from “Sand Sharks,” and that’s saying something!

I have to admit, though, I’m not being completely honest with you.  I exaggerated the lameness of Gator Fest by using a screenshot that only shows a portion of the attendees.

There, THAT’S everybody.

Yep, everybody.  As far as I can tell, there are about 16 people at Gator Fest this year, including the carneys.  The best part is that when Sheriff Watson asks one of the deputies how things are going, he replies, “The usual.  Some drunks, some parking tickets, a couple of pickpockets.”  So the crowd is not only very small, it is also apparently composed of lawless scum.

What I’m slowly coming to realize is that PEOPLE WHO MAKE SHARK MOVIES HAVE NO FRIENDS.  Think about it.  Let’s say you needed to come up with several people to be extras in a movie.  You’d go to your friends and tell them that it won’t take long, that they’ll get to be in a movie, and that you really need the help because it’s for your job.  Given two weeks, you could probably round up at least ten people, right?  Well dozens of people worked on this film and the best they could manage between them was 16!

Despite this sad reality, I highly recommend “Swamp Shark.”  The characters are very watchable—a fact that, for once, has nothing to do with bikinis.  The film also has a great soundtrack, but since I’m the sort of person who likes zydeco music, you shouldn’t necessarily take my word for it.  All in all, I doubt you could watch this film and not enjoy it.

This trailer really fails to capture the essence of the film, but watch it if you want to:

“Swamp Shark” is available for purchase on Amazon.

Sharktopus (2010)

Syfy. Director: Declan O’Brien.

Creature Feature Bleachers Awards: Most Vignettes, Most Upper Thigh Shots

“Sharktopus” is a pretty run-of-the-mill sharksploitation film, notable mostly for its mildly innovative use of multiple points-of-view.  Like 2011’s “War Horse,” the film follows different people as they interact with the same animal.  The major difference between “War Horse” and “Sharktopus,” though, is that the horse convincingly shifts from farm labor to pet to war materiel, whereas Sharktopus is all killing machine, all the time.

The film contains a fair degree of violence (Sharktopus can stab as well as bite, after all), and is not for the faint of heart.  If, on the other hand, you’re worried about sexual content, you can probably still enjoy the film–as much as anyone can enjoy it, that is.  Other than some oddly sexy yoga and a peculiar focus on the female upper thigh, the film is not much more sexual than a visit to the beach.  Assuming, of course, that the beach you go to is populated by attractive young people, and not fat, hairy, beet-red men, as is my usual experience.

The DVD Cover

The plot of the film, such as it is, focuses on Nathan Sands (Eric Roberts, an actor who’s played a number of roles but is best known to me as “The Master” in 1996’s awful “Doctor Who” TV movie) and daughter Nicole (Sara Malakul Lane).  Together they run the Blue Water R & D firm, which has successfully engineered a shark-octopus hybrid that can be controlled by means of a transmitter.  The Navy is very interested in the possibilities, but when a Navy Commander pushes too hard during a demonstration, the transmitter is damaged, setting Sharktopus free!  Like many Americans, the creature heads directly to Mexico and begins wreaking havoc.  Sands must call in estranged business associate Andy Flynn (Kerem Bursin) to bring the creature back under control.  But as the death toll rises, a dark secret is revealed….  Well, honestly, a pretty stupid secret.

Along the way, father-daughter tension develops between Nicole and Sands, who has the amazing ability to switch between being drunk and being sober in a split second.  (You might think he’s just pretending to be drunk, but there is absolutely no reason for him to do so in the context of the film).  “Sharktopus” is at its artsiest during phone conversations between the two, when the screen splits to show multiple perspectives.

This clever arrangement allows the viewer to simultaneously see the facial expressions of Sands, Nicole, and the boat.

We also witness a completely unnecessary and illogical romance brew between the studious Nicole and the shirtless Andy.  All I can figure is that at some point during the film, Nicole thinks to herself, “I wouldn’t fall for him if he were the last man on the earth,” and then realizes that Sharktopus has indeed killed pretty much everyone else.

The secondary story line follows a local news crew trying to make it big by breaking the story of the century.  Reporter Stacy Everheart (Liv Boughn) is ice-cold and relentless in her pursuit of the answers, dragging along heavily-tattooed cameraman “Bones” (Héctor Jiménez).  Local pervert, er, fisherman, Pez (Blake Lindsey) joins them to grab Stacy’s bottom, er, get to the bottom of things.  Pez is, unfortunately, my favorite character in the film.  In addition to reading ladies underwear magazines in public and mucking through fish guts for a living, he utters one of the film’s mercifully few puns, “Bite me.”

Then there’s the two-person crew of a pirate radio station, whose only purpose seems to be to self-reference bad creature films and ridicule the people who watch them.

Captain Jack: “Yeah, I know you would [watch a movie about a Sharktopus], Stephanie.  That’s because you’re easily amused.  I’ve seen you mesmerized watching a frozen burrito rotate in a microwave oven.”

Stephanie: [giggles]

Stephanie was Miss USA in 2004, though, so I’m not complaining too loudly.

The rest of the film consists of humorous vignettes.  The writers obviously put more effort into these throwaway subplots than they did into the actual storyline.  The scenes are so short that a description would spoil them, but suffice it to say that the writers thought up some great set-ups for Sharktopus attacks.

Well, excluding the completely nonsensical opening scene, in which two girls lie on the beach, and one complains to the other, “You’re texting again?!”

Yeah Blonde #1, what are you thinking?!? You should put down that phone, lie there completely still, and refrain from conversation, like your friend was doing until just a moment ago. Sometimes I don’t think you even understand how tanning works! You dumbhead, don’t you know it’s physically impossible to tan while texting? Sheesh, you’re probably the only person on this entire beach using a phone! How embarrassing!

All told, “Sharktopus” is okay but not great.  If you’re into blood and bikinis, this is the movie for you.  If, like me, you’re looking for terrible acting, questionable science, and a loopy plot, “Sharktopus” is only average.  Give it a try, but don’t be disappointed if it leaves you wanting more.

Tip: Consider saving time by simply watching the lengthy, gory trailer:

“Sharktopus” is available for purchase on Amazon.